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    NAA Business Excellence Programme Update: If you wish to apply for project funding, ‘time is of the essence’!

    January has proven to be a very positive start to 2014 for the Business Excellence Programme with five new members (see below), taking us to a grand total of 118. Our target is to recruit 15 additional members by March from the North West region.  Therefore if you are an existing member and have suppliers in our region, please make them aware of Business Excellence and pass on our details

    Although it is great that there is so much interest in the programme and that so many companies want to join (currently about 20% of the sector), our main purpose is to help companies to remain competitive and grow. We strongly encourage companies (new and old) who are not using the support available to do so. Companies can take advantage of the funding (c. £10k per company), networking and the promotion of their products and services.

    New company members are our priority group to utilise the remaining funding available for business improvement projects. Therefore if you wish to develop your marketing, devise a mentoring and coaching programme for your senior staff, wish to gain an ISO Accreditation, time is of the essence. The funding can be used to support almost any business improvement project where you use external support (revenue only). Large companies can receive 20% contribution and SMEs a contribution of 35% towards such programmes during 2014, and projects should be completed by March 2015.

    If you require any information from those companies who have seen benefits through the BEP please contact either myself or Amanda Holmes ( to create the connections or forward you details of previous project case studies to show what can be achieved.

    As stated last month and to reiterate; our aim is to allocate all funds by September, so I anticipate that the initial rush for funding will continue to increase each month.   Funding is being rapidly allocated, so to avoid disappointment please don’t leave it too long. If you would like to know more about the mentoring and technical support available, then please contact either Amanda or myself to arrange a meeting, where we can help you to complete the simple project application form and get the simple process started.

    New Members
    We wish to welcome the following new members to the BEP:

    • Eastman Company UK
    • Nutexa Frictions
    • Maxtrac
    • JSA Precision Engineering
    • DHL Supply Chain

    BE Member Networking Events

    As a reminder of the events Business Excellence has planned this year, our next event is on the 18 February at Mini Gears in Stockport with a networking lunch and “Vital Topic” presentations to be delivered at Bredbury Hall, Stockport.

    Paul Darwent, Chairman of Mini Gears, will host the site visit, which will focus on how Mini Gears grew their company from a £1.5m turnover to over £9m and became the largest privately-owned gear manufacturing company in the UK. Paul will explain how Mini Gears developed a strategy to respond to changes in the market, resulting from the recession and low cost outsourcing. These include improvements in production and processes, quality and Kanban-derived delivery systems.

    To achieve this, Mini Gears has also invested in the culture of the organisation, including lean manufacturing to drive forward significant change. It is now a strong, highly competitive customer-focused company.

    If you’re a Business Excellence member and haven’t booked your space to attend, please email to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to join us.

    On 13 June we will be holding our Business Excellence meeting at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which we anticipate will sell out very quickly. The meeting’s theme will be motorsport. Details are being finalised, but please feel free to get in touch with Amanda if you would like to reserve a place. I can assure you it will be a fantastic event! Please see more information in the separate article below.

    Additionally, we plan to hold two further meetings later in the year. Many of our members face similar challenges and we have all found the visits incredibly informative. By hosting a meeting, a company can share its experiences, raise its profile and gain new contacts. If you wish to host a Business Excellence Networking event please contact me to explore the opportunity.

    We work with many organisations that offer business support and funding that complements the Business Excellence Programme, as we recognise that there is often more support required by a company than we can offer. Therefore, if you wish to find out about any other regional/national funding streams, please get in contact and we can provide you with information or signpost you in the right direction.

    Dr Martin Andrews
    T: 07870 812214

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham